Gun stores across the country are reporting big increases in sales since Tuesday's election of Barack Obama to the White House. Some gun enthusiasts are worried that the president-elect and the Democratic Congress will move for tougher new gun laws that restrict some weapons.
One of the gun shops benefiting from the uptick in sales is Blue Ridge Arsenal in Chantilly, Va. The pistol range is busy today; so is the sales staff. And owner Earl Curtis is smiling.
"It's been great — especially within the last three weeks," he says.
Curtis says sales have doubled, but not because of hunting season — because of the election.
"People are afraid that their rights will be taken away, and all of a sudden they want to get large guns with [high-capacity] magazines, assault weapons. ... People think we're going to go back to the Clinton ages."
Curtis says that could mean no guns with high-capacity magazines that are able to shoot 30 or more rounds, and no firearms with collapsible stocks so the gun can be adjusted.
Some people may think they should buy now, Curtis says, so that they're "grandfathered" in before any new restrictions become law.
Blue Ridge Arsenal has sold out of Glocks. On Saturday alone, the store sold seven of the 10 M&P15 semiautomatic rifles that were in stock.
"We saw the same thing when Bill Clinton ... was elected, that there was a huge rush then," says Steve Eiserman, who goes to Blue Ridge Arsenal to shoot targets, usually with .22- or .45-caliber pistols.
Eiserman says there was a change in what gun owners could buy when Clinton was president, but that the impact wasn't huge. There is more fear this time, with President-elect Obama, he says, but he doesn't think it's warranted.
"I think the country's got a lot more bigger problems than whether or not we can buy this gun or that gun that need to be handled first," Eiserman says.
But that isn't stopping an apparent nationwide run. Curtis says other gun shops he knows are reporting huge sales. The FBI has reported a 15 percent increase in background checks for gun purchases in October, compared with the same month last year.
Dave Chagnon came to Blue Ridge Arsenal to buy a Glock, but because the store was sold out, he's buying a .40-caliber Sig Sauer 226 pistol for home protection instead.
"They're not gonna be banning anything I would be looking to purchase, so I really don't have a concern," Chagnon says.
During the campaign, Obama told voters he wouldn't take their shotguns, rifles and handguns. He has also said he respects the Second Amendment right to bear arms — but he prefers "common sense" gun laws. Vice President-elect Joe Biden has supported banning assault weapons. Saturday in his radio address, President-elect Obama said his first priority in office would be dealing with the nation's economic crisis.